Post # 1
We have been working diligently with a trainer and our puppy has come such a long way. We are so proud of him – he improves everyday! One thing we have actually never had an issue with is him being territorial about his food. I can pet him while he eats, stick my hand right in his bowl, take any of his rawhide bones away, take any of his toys away…I can even kiss his face when he has any of these things in his mouth (yes, I realize I risk getting my face bit off as he is still a dog with instincts no matter what).
However, this weekend my dad decided to buy our puppy a beef bone. He has never had one before and he just went NUTS. He was jumping all over the place like some kind of crazed monster who never learned a command in his life. We got him to calm down, he did what he was supposed to do in order to get his treats, and I thought all was fine. That was until I went near him and pet him – he growled at me. He has never done that before and I thought maybe it was a one off…but he was consistently very protective of this bone to the point where the mohawk on his back went up.
My dad says it is fine because it is raw meat and of course he will be protective. My husband and I do not think it is fine at all because if we have kids, they may pet him when he has a bone (obviously we would tell them not to and watch them but shit happens sometimes). We are going to ask our trainer during our next class, but in the meantime does anyone have any suggestions? The only thing I can think of is to get him to willingly drop and leave the bone and walk over to me rather than me going in and trying to take it away. He never bit me but he definitely warned me that the bone was his and to back off.
So, what do I do? Keep working with him until there is no food aggression? Leave him alone when he has bones? Never give him beef bones again? The thing that disturbs me is that he growled over his food this morning (he had the bone last night) so I am hoping it is not a pattern now. This was not an issue before and now it seems to be one. Just when we thought he was getting better, we now have this roadblock in the way. Maybe I am overreacting but it really does disturb me. I honestly just want to throw that bone in the garbage but he loved it so much. Ugh.
Post # 3
It is totally normal with bones, my youngest will do that too, it just takes time if you just sit near them for a while, they get used to your presence while they have their bone, and eventually will let you pat them. But if it keeps happening I would throw the bone away, especially if he snaps at you.
Post # 4
We have never given raw meat or bones to our dogs, but starting when they were puppies I would play in their food bowls while they were eating and pet them/pull on their ears/put my hands near their mouths/etc. I can take their food away with no issues.
It might be different if it’s a raw meat bone though, I dunno…
Post # 5
I had a cocker spaniel growing up that was severely food aggressive. She would growl and snap if you tried to touch her food, and it was worse with bones and big treats like rawhide. We fixed it by basically never giving her one.
Post # 6
I would take it away – no one growls at me in my house. If you can’t have a beef bone without acting a fool, you don’t get a beef bone, end of story. Then if you growl over your food we go back to you getting one piece at a time out of my hand until you get it through your skull that I control the food. I still call my dog away from her bowl of food in the middle once in a while, just to screw with her, I mean reinforce that she eats what and when I say so. 🙂
Our dog started out her life as an assistance dog in training and they allow absolutely zero animal products in toys/bones for that reason, it’s too easy to foster food aggression. Now we do give her the bleached bones filled with peanut butter, but that’s it – those were even a no-no before (she loves them, but will hand it over willingly).
Post # 7
We have put our hands in our labs food bowl and pet her while she’s eating since she was a puppy. We always make her bring us her rawhide bones while she’s eating them, and she has no problem doing this. Recently she has become a little more guarded with her food and will forget herself and will make a grunting sound. We’re working on it with her. Food aggression is NOT acceptable.
Post # 8
Our pup likes to chew so we bought her a few baked beef bones. The first time she growled at me, it surprised the crap out of me.
Without thinking I grabbed the bone from her, and picked her up by the scruff of her neck (all 4 feet of the ground) and told her “NO!” She got the bone back at bedtime that night,
She’s never growled at me since, but she will growl at other people if she thinks they come too close to her bone. I did a lot of research on how to fix it but almost every dog trainer says something different. I’d defer to your instincts.
Post # 9
No, we nipped that behavior in the bud early. We did hand feeding.
Post # 10
Um my 2 year old dog had a time out this morning I was so frustrated with him. He counter surfs and is an attention seeker. He definitely knew he was in trouble. Puppies are just frustrating. I swear, after the crap our pup has put us through, I dont want a puppy again. I’ll adopt and older dog next time!
Post # 11
@DaneLady: I can do all of those things with his food and treat bones, but definitely not the raw meat bone. I am going to give him another chance tonight but if it doesn’t go well I am going to take it away for good like @GoldfishPie: did and @Jacqui90: suggested.
I love to give him treats but not if he is going to defend them with his very life, lol.
Post # 12
@HappySky7: We did that too. It’s just the damn raw meat bones. If we can’t fix it and the trainer can’t fix it, he won’t get them anymore.
Post # 13
You should talk to your trainer, food aggression is as bad as any other aggression. Our older pup, even being a small dog, had some of those tendencies and it freaked me out. It took me months working with her, but now I can take treats right out of her mouth, mess with her food, or command her away from food with no issues. A dog should never raise its mohawk to its owner, for any reason.
Post # 14
If I give my dog meat bones she goes outside in the yard where no one is around. This weekend when returning from a trip, I gave her the bone from a porterhouse; outside she went without people or the other two dogs in the house.
They’re pets, but animals too. I never give my dog something like that and then start fucking with her. Now, she has not growled at me, but I don’t demand submission every time I give her something.
So I vote no meat bones, or give the dog some space if you decide to treat her.
Post # 15
It’s called resource guarding, and it’s very common. It’s nothing to freak out about, but it’s definitely something to work on.
I would talk w/ your trainer about it.
Post # 16
@Cory_loves_this_girl: I agree, it is not acceptable and it just the bones. It seems to trigger wild animal instincts.
@almostmrsj: That’s a good idea. We may have to go back to square one with the food.
@Swizzle: Puppies are annoying, lol. I considered selling mine to the highest bidder 😛